Tuesday, August 11, 2015

How Black Lives Matter Has Changed the Church: But Where Are the Catholics (and How Can a Meaningful Pro-Life Ethic Ignore Racism)?

In this valuable Huffington Post article about how the Black Lives Matter movement has changed the church, find the Catholic voice.

You won't. It's not there.

In the article, Troy Jackson, director of the AMOS Project in Cincinnati, says, 

Black Lives Matter has served as a prophetic voice to the church and to our society. They are calling people of faith to examine our values, and to decide if we want to continue to be chaplains to an empire that devalues the lives of so many, or whether we will join them as prophets of the resistance. They ask the church a critical question: "What side are you on?" The church can either declare we are on the side of the Exodus, the Resurrection, or we can walk away sad like the rich young ruler, for we have far too much invested in the American empire that is infused with white supremacy.

To an extent almost incomprehensible for Catholics who remember the robust Catholic involvement in the Civil Rights struggle of the 1950s and 1960s, that prophetic voice about which Troy Jackson is speaking is just not there right now for the U.S. Catholic community. Under the leadership of two popes whose more or less exclusive focus was on turning the Catholic church into a bulwark against contemporary culture, and under the leadership of a crop of bishops in the U.S. hand-picked by those two popes for their unquestioning obedience to the Vatican, the U.S. Catholic community is, at an official level, almost exclusively fixated on the moral issue of abortion (and secondarily on the issue of same-sex marriage).

Racial injustice is now off the radar screen of the U.S. Catholic community.

As a result, we proclaim an "ethic of life" that is at best tangential to the real, lived concerns of many of our fellow citizens, who are struggling to have their human lives respected — to have those lives count. We are presenting ourselves as premier champions of the value of life while we callously ignore the serious omnipresent challenges to the dignity of real human lives right in our midst — black lives, LGBT lives, the lives of the poor and immigrants, the lives of women.

And our intellectual class, layfolks with the most education and the highest positions in the Catholic academy and Catholic journalism, are not only perfectly willing to walk lockstep with the pastoral leaders of the church vis-a-vis their monomaniacal, completely deracinated (from all other values of life) focus on the abortion issue. In fact, they're perfectly willing to aid and abet the U.S. Catholic bishops as they play dirty partisan politics around this issue, colluding with political leaders whose commitment to any consistent, cogent ethic of life is nonexistent.

As anyone with eyes open can easily see.

I find the graphic used at many blog sites, with no indication (insofar as I have found) of its originating source.

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